October 9, 2015
Fall is in the air, and that brings cravings for hearty, warm beverages. While some pay homage to everything pumpkin spice, another classic favorite is apple cider. With its combination of sweet and spiced flavors, a mug of this treat ranks up there with other cherished comfort foods.
When it comes to entertaining guests, a hot cider bar with a mix of add-ins is a special treat. The cider recipe below serves well as a stand alone beverage, and as a base for add-ins and an extra bit of fun!
Mulled Apple Cider
- 2 quarts apple juice (unsweetened)
- 1/2 c brown sugar
- 3 cinnamon sticks (3″-5″ in length)
- 1 t whole allspice
- 1 t whole cloves
- 1/4 t salt
- dash nutmeg
- sliced apple (optional)
- In a large pot combine juice, sugar, allspice, cloves, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and bring to a boil.
- Cover, turn to low, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain to remove the spices (or allow them to float, just be careful when drinking).
- Garnish mugs with an apple slice, or float an apple slice in the mug.
- Sit back, sip and enjoy!
Cider Bar Add-in Options
- toffee candies
- butterscotch candies
- cinnamon sticks
- maple bourbon
Heading out to the orchard is always fun! Check out our list for where to find (and pick) apples locally.
- Carter Mountain Orchard – Charlottesville
- Dickie Brothers Orchard – Roseland
- Gross Orchards – Bedford
- Johnson’s Orchard – Bedford
- Morris Orchard – Monroe
- Mountain Cove Orchard – Afton
- Seaman’s Orchard – Roseland
- Silver Creek Orchard – Tyro
Photography, Styling and Add-in Options by Kristin Dunker Photography
May 19, 2015
When it comes to eating out (which is done more often in my house than I’d like to admit, hence this being my kind of culinary column), my husband, Earl, and I enjoy experiencing local restaurants. We feel that it’s important to support the business owners in our community, plus each eatery specializes in their own unique dishes.
If the idea of testing out local cuisine and tasting different dishes while learning a bit of history intrigues you, then taking a food tour just might be the ticket for a fun date or time out with friends. It’s no secret that unique fare is en vogue, whether it be through experiencing authentic ethnic delights or finding places that utilize locally sourced items to create gourmet dishes.
Food tours are popping up all over in major cities, and it was on a visit to Chicago where his wife, Marty, encouraged Larry Landolt to take a food based excursion. “We had such a good time that we did another tour the next day,” he stated. The Chicago tour made such an impression on Landolt that he began his own culinary excursions in Roanoke.
Physically, it made sense since Roanoke has more restaurants per capita than any other city in Virginia. The downtown area alone boasts over fifty eateries! Choosing restaurants for the tour was a challenge, but Landolt picked ones based on location and variety to satisfy an array of tourgoer palates. Although a bit of walking is required, the tour is handicap friendly. Accommodations can also be made for food allergies if they are made known ahead of time.
Foodies may expect the journey to be all about the cuisine, the tour is peppered with interesting facts about Roanoke’s history during a walk through the city. As a place rich with tradition, heritage and landmarks, the cultural part of the tour offers a glimpse into the Roanoke of yesteryear.
Your stops may differ, but our tour hit the following highlights and restaurants. We enjoyed our experience with visitors from North Carolina and Wisconsin in addition to Yorktown, Virginia. We hope that you enjoy the tour through our eyes, and maybe it will encourage you to take one of your own. Bon appétit!
Hotel Roanoke – This beautiful, landmark hotel served a few of their signature dishes, which made a lovely presentation while being savory and tasty. The tour also highlighted some of the historic décor in the hotel.
Cedars Lebanese Restaurant – Roanoke has a rich Lebanese history, and Cedars pays homage to it with their flavors. Using old family recipes and several ingredients sourced from Lebanon (we sampled two Lebanese spices). In addition, this restaurant wowed our palates with their unique offerings.
Billy’s – Despite it’s calm and beautiful atmosphere, this eatery’s location was part of the underbelly of Roanoke long ago. Nowadays the building offers delectable fare, which was a favorite of many on the tour. Not to leave craft beer off of the tastings, we were given a sample to accompany our shrimp and grits.
Firefly Fare – This environmentally friendly (think recyclable/biodegradable conscious) restaurant offers locally sourced cuisine. Our sample was delicious with a taste that us back to some of our world travels. As lovers of international flavors, this stop definitely ranked high for us.
Texas Tavern – This Roanoke staple offers both history (it’s been open since 1930 and owned by the same family!) and boasts only ten stools for seating – they say, “We seat 1,000 people… 10 at a time.” Serving classics such as the Western, this location was fun, delicious and economical.
Little Green Hive – Nestled into the 16 West Marketplace, this coffee and smoothie bar specializes in sensible coffees, exotic teas, and whole fruit smoothies. Their location also offers an off-the-beaten path space to sit and chat over locally roasted coffee.
On the Rise Bakery – This bakery has long been a staple stop for us along the Roanoke Historic Market (their pizza is delicious!). As our last stop, we were able to sample a sweet, light and tasty end to our tour.
Craving more? Be sure to visit www.tourroanoke.com to schedule your own culinary experience, and like “Roanoke Food Tours” on Facebook to keep up with specials and events.
Weekly, Year-Round Tour Offerings
· Downtown Roanoke Food & Cultural Tour
· The Historic Downtown Roanoke Sunday Brunch Tour
· Roanoke Craft Beer Tours
· Blue Ridge Wine Tours
There are three goals for each tourgoer.
1. Have a good time.
2. Learn something (about the city and also the restaurants).
3. Eat the right amount of food.
~ by Earl and Jennifer Prince, photos by William Mahone Photography
March 9, 2015
We love recipes around here… it’s true! Especially ones that are sweet with a bit of a feel good flavor. Such is the case with these Sugar Molasses Cookies with a recipe passed down from author Brittany Homer’s grandmother and photographed by Alysson Copeland Photography. Enjoy!
- 1/2 c molasses
- 1 egg
- 3 c flour
- 8 oz. butter
- 1/2 c brown sugar 1/2 c sugar
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 T vanilla extract
- 1 T each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
- gold sanding sugar
Beat butter, sugars and extract until soft and creamy. Beat in egg, then molasses. Add flour, salt and spices. Fold together until completely mixed. Refrigerate a few hours or leave overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°. Roll out half the dough at a time. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Put the cookies, on parchment paper, on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes until ready to bake. Sprinkle on sanding sugar and bake for about 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.
February 6, 2015
Sometimes even when it’s not pumpkin or spice season, I get in the mood for the flavor. Try out this very easy recipe for sweet muffins along with a sugared pecan topper – so yummy I could eat them by the handful! Thank you to Brittany Homer for the recipe and Alysson Copeland for the images.
- 1 box of spice cake mix
- 1 15 oz. can of pumpkin
It really is as easy as it looks! Mix the spice cake package with a can of pumpkin until combined. You might have to add a little bit of water to make the mixing easier on your part. It will be a thick mixture. Do not add the oil and eggs from box recipe. Grease muffin pans and fill just over halfway. Preheat according to the box (glass and dark metal pans bake at different heats), bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese (softened)
- 1 stick of butter (softened)
- Confectioners sugar
- Vanilla Extract
In a stand mixer, whip the butter and cream cheese together. Add a tablespoon of vanilla and slowly add in confectioners sugar for texture (and taste as you go). It should be a smooth frosting. Add more vanilla or confectioners for taste/sweetness.
- 1 lb whole or halved pecans 1 large egg white
- 1 T water
- 1/2 t vanilla extract
- 1 c granulated sugar
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1/2 t salt
- (add a dash of cayenne for a little sweet n’ spicy kick!)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine egg white, water, and vanilla. Mix until a good froth forms. In separate bowl, combine sugar cinnamon and salt (cayenne, too, if you want it!) Pour half of the sugar mix- ture over the pecans and toss. Add the rest of the sugar and toss until evenly coated. Pour the pecans over a parchment paper lined baking sheet and spread out evenly. Bake for about an hour, tossing every 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then place in an airtight container! This recipe makes more than plenty to share/snack on/decorate your yummy muffins with.